A Life Devoted to Supporting Charity

Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) was an American actor and comedian. Starting as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, he is credited with leading San Francisco’s comedy renaissance. After rising to fame as Mork in the sitcom ‘Mork & Mindy’ (1978–82), he went on to establish a career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting like some great classics: ‘Popeye’ (1980), ‘The World According to Garp’ (1982), ‘Goodmorning Vietnam’ (1987), Hook’ (1991), ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993), ‘The Birdcage’ (1996), ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997), ‘What Dreams May Come’ (1998), ‘Night at the Museum’ (2006) and a coúntless more…. He was known for his improvisational skills, on stage and on the set. But above all, he is remembered for his big heart….

Robin Williams photographed in 1999

More than just a comic genius, Robin Williams was also one of the world’s great humanitarians (Click photo to enlarfge)

Robin Williams supported also 28 different charities over the course of his life, using his fame and wealth to raise funds and his personality to boost morale.

In 1986, Williams teamed up with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal to found Comic Relief USA, an annual HBO television benefit devoted to the homeless, which has raised $80 million. Williams and his second wife Marsha founded the Windfall Foundation, a philanthropic organization to raise money for many charities. In December 1999, he sang in French on the BBC inspired music video of international celebrities doing a cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Ít’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)’ for the charity Children’s Promise

Disaster relief was a high priority for Williams. In 2001 he took part in a benefit concert to raise money for the victims of 9/11. Years later, he donated all profits from his stand-up shows in New Zealand to help victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

In response to the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, he donated all proceeds of his “Weapons of Self Destruction” Christchurch performance to help rebuild the New Zealand city. Half the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross and half to the mayoral building fund

He toured the Middle East five times with the United Service Organizations (USO), where he would entertain the troops and their families with his infectious sense of humour.

Williams was renowned for his work with the St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital. By recording commercials and sending letters on its behalf, he helped to raise awareness and money for patients battling cancer. A spokesperson for the hospital claimed that the actor never once charged a fee for his services and devoted a lot of time to the children. Kelly Schulz of St Jude said: “Whenever he had an opportunity to meet patients and families he would do it. When you have a person of Robin’s calibre, it helps sick kids forget about their diseases for a while.”

As a close friend of Christopher Reeve, Williams famously supported the Christopher and Dana Reeve ‘Spinal Cord Injury Resourse Centre’. From the start he joined the board of directors and was honoured in 1998 with the Human Spirit Award. He was subsequently honoured again in 2007 and was often credited for a surge in support towards the foundation.

Reportedly, the actor faced financial difficultly in recent years and the current value of his estate is unknown. Regardless of this, his charitable work was still a going concern up to his death.

by Jean Amr